RACINE — The crumbling brick building at 1516 Washington Ave. is gone. 

But the cost of tearing down the structure has turned out to be twice what aldermen thought it would be when they signed off on the work late last year.

The city solicited bids to have the building torn down in November after it was discovered that part of the façade was separating from the main structure.

The low bid from Azarian Wrecking came in at $26,209. The bill for the job, however, has risen to roughly $52,350, city Purchasing Agent Kathy Kasper said this week.

The city has already paid about $20,000 of the cost, she said.

According to Chief Building Inspector Ken Plaski, the extra work was needed to help seal up the side of Racine Merchandise Mart, 1512 Washington Ave. The store shared a wall with the former building.

“It was all inter-laced. We couldn’t leave the building in that condition. We had to seal it back up with masonry,” Plaski said.

Although change orders for public works projects must be approved by the City Council, change orders for purchase orders do not, Kasper said. They go through the department level, she said, but are typically rare.

“This was kind of a unique project,” Kasper said. “Before demolition it was difficult to tell where the buildings were intertwined. It even says that in the bid document. We knew there would be additional money spent on that contract.”

Although the city is paying for the demolition, it still plans to bill the building’s owners — HPG Management LLC and PHG Management LLC — for the cost. Located in Greenwood Village, Colo., the companies purchased the building during a foreclosure sale in 2011.

Mayor John Dickert said last year that tearing down the building was not only necessary to keep people safe, but part of a new effort to crack down on delinquent property owners in the city.

Plaski said Wednesday that the companies had not yet been invoiced for the work, but would be.

In the meantime, the money will be coming out of the building department’s demolition budget.

(7) comments


It would have cost less to just take down the loose stuff. It wouldn't look real good but that whole area dosen't look good. It would fit right in.


This whole story sounds like some little kid wrote it. I was in business and when I gave a bid I stuck with it. Sometimes I would make less than I had planned but I still made money. The city should have taken bids and you take the best price. Whoever you get to do the work can't just say its going to cost double what they said. The city always jacks up the cost for some reason? They might want to take a look at some of the peoples accounts. I know the city only has to pay what the bid was. I would ask for a little more sometimes but double that sounds nutty. Whoever runs this city is ripping the people off. They should look where all the citys money is going.

the voice of reason

"The cost...turned out to be twice what aldermen thought it would be..."
They accepted a razing bid which did not include contingency money for the worst-case possibility of shared walls and subsequent costs?!
-Project Management 101: understand all the known costs and timing, as well as the unknowns, and budget for the worst. Then celebrate any cost and timeline underruns at the end. (and be a hero)

A RJT article back when the razing took place said it wasn't even known whether the buildings shared a common wall or had separate walls.
News flash: You can buy a color digital borescope at Farm and Fleet for $100 that would have allowed determination of this obviously HUGE variable up front. Watch your Sunday sale flyers, Aldermen. Jeez.

City Hall: dock the extra $26,141 from the paycheck of the buffoons who went with a plan which included no contingency $ for the painfully obvious possibility that there would be added costs to repair the adjacent walls.

And now you plan to bill the adjacent landowners for the over-run? Are you serious?! They didn't sign up for your ineptly-planned demo derby.
If you decide to do a controlled burn of an abandoned inner city house for RFD training and it gets out of control and burns part of the neighboring house; do you plan to tell that homeowner he has to pay for the repairs out of his pocket, too?
Just imagine how many lawyers would be ringing the homeowner's melted doorbell, just begging to represent him.

Seriously, city hall, are you listening? Show some integrity: hold someone inside your own walls responsible on this. You're embarrassing yourselves.


Why do we have to pay Azarian and Co. when they don't pay their taxers? They owe tens of thousands of dollars in taxes, then charge us double for a job. Why are tax thieves even allowed to bid on a city project? They owe us more than the building is worth. Still Dickert and Co pay their pals with our money while our streetlights are turned off.



Cost was twice as much as the bid? Was Monte Osterman involved? There has to be room in the original bid for the kickbacks to Osterman and Dickert.


Of course it was TWICE THE ORIGINAL BID!!!!! Racine Common Council members will just look the other way as they always do, Dickert will be dishonest as he always is, and Racine residents will be to dumb to do anything about it, all while city hall laughs about it, disgusting situation you all have in Racine.


should have done it on the cheap and just removed the facade.
the property owners dont care and wont pay the bill.

keep throwing away our money, dickhert.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.